Help me find the knee in the curve - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Help me find the knee in the curve

Hello everyone,
I've been reading for a while but this is my first post. I'm afraid that this is another one of those "which tank should I buy?" type posts, but I'm hoping that you'll share some of your experience with me.

To give you a little background, I've been out of the aquarium world for ten years or so and never had an extensively planted tank. However, recently I'be been thinking about getting back into it. My interest was piqued when I ran across Fluval Edges on sale for a significant discount. Unfortunately (?) they all sold out before I completed my research so now I'm looking at other options. I tend to suffer from requirements creep, so I'm trying to not go too fancy, but still get something that is flexible and that I won't want to immediately upgrade. Cost is not a huge constraint, but I still want to hit a good performance/dollar point.

My goal is a tank that I can fit on my desk, I'm thinking 4-8 gallons, that has good performance and aesthetics for a reasonable price. I'd like it to be fairly low maintenance, and I'm not planning on including CO2 injection, at least not to begin with. Right now, I'm planning mostly mosses and hairgrass with shrimp and either a dwarf puffer, scarlet badis, or some celestial pearl danios. The all in one sleek units like the Edge and Spec V appeal to me but I know that often times the "kit" isn't the best bang for your buck. Also, I'm an engineer so I'm not opposed to making modifications/additions/subtractions as required.

Here are some of the options I'm considering along with my perceived pros and cons.

Fluval Edge: ~$125
Pros: Looks great, all-in-one convenience
Cons: Expensive, limited lighting options, maintenance might be a bear, I've heard that the novelty wears off

Fluval Spec V ~$80
Pros: Still looks pretty good, all in one, I like the longer, narrow rectangular shape
Cons: May need to replace stock light, I've heard mixed reviews on the filtration

Schuber Wright Mini 66 4 gallon ~$115
Pros: Good lighting
Cons: On the smaller side, requires addition of filter

Eheim Aquastyle 6 gallon ~$112
Pros: Good lighting, looks good
Cons: Internal filter takes up room, possibly not as effective as an external?

CAD Light Aquarium 8 gallon Starfire series ~$160.00
Pros: Seem-less Starfire glass, integrated filter compartment, high power light (180 PAR @ 6"), rimless
Cons: There aren't a lot of reviews out there from freshwater users, light might be TOO bright for low maintenance, 12" cube form factor not as appealing to me as the longer rectangles


Schuber Wright 4 gallon low iron w/ HOB filter & Fugeray light ~$90
Pros: Good glass, more future proof with separate light and filter, rimless
Cons: lower capacity, not as "sleek" as all in one units

Finnex low iron 7.5 gal w/FugeRay Planted+ light ~$93
Pros: Good glass, good light, future proof, rimless
Cons: 12" cube form factor, need to buy a filter

NanoSky 7 gal high clarity ~$100
Pros: good glass, good size, complete package, rimless
Cons: Not many reviews, included HOB filter and clip-on light look "cluttered"

Last but not least.
Mr. Aqua 6 gal long ~$65 + $50 light + $25 Rapids mini canister = ~$140
Pros: Most room to aquascape, looks great, longer length may allow for more active fish like neon tetras?
Cons: Expensive, I'd probably have to make a lid so I don't accidentally knock stuff into it with it's low height, high evaporation, too much light for low maintenance?, more complicated setup

I intentionally didn't include acrylic tanks because I don't want to worry about the scratching. Right now the Spec, Edge, and 6 gallon long are my leading candidates, but I'm happy to hear other suggestions as well. I think that's about it, hopefully I wasn't too long winded. Thanks for your time and assistance.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 12:08 AM
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I can't speak to most of those tanks, but I love my little Spec V. It's been set up about a week and it's really nice. The filter is quiet and you can view so much of the tank with the long layout. I scored mine with an upgraded light, so I can't speak to the stock light. So far, it's my favorite tank.

10 gallon bow-front,
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 01:39 AM
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imo i like the gal long just because you get a canister style filter. not fond if the all in ones and where they have threads where they have some leaks.

part wise im thinking for a part list

tank
mr aqua 6gal long $65

light
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ 24" $75
or
Finnex FugeRay 24" $80

filter
Rapids mini can $25
or
Zoomed 501 $37

Last edited by bobfig; 11-08-2014 at 02:03 AM. Reason: update
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 01:59 AM
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6 gallon long i was just looking at those myself. With a fugeray or planted+.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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After more research in leaving towards the 6 gallon long with a sun sun canister and current satellite led light. I'm still open to suggestions though.

As far as purchasing goes, are there typically good black Friday sales on aquarium stuff that I should wait for? Thanks.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2014, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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I figured that I'd update this thread in the case it helps someone down the road. I ended up going with the Mr. Aqua 6 gallon long, with a Current LED+ light, and SunSun 602B canister filter. So far I love the layout of the 6 gallon long, the footprint makes it look much larger than its volume would suggest. The SunSun filter is nearly completely silent and there have been zero leaks (albeit after only 3 days). I may have to turn down the flow once I get the tank stock, but the filter certainly has enough flow with a ~2.5' head height. As for the light, I'm pretty happy with it as well. I sprung for the LED+ instead of the LED for the extra colors and lighting programs. Honestly, I'm not sure if it is worth the extra expense, but it is pretty neat. Eventually I hope to set up an Arduino to control sunrise, daylight, sunset, moon, ect.

Now my only question is stocking. I'm definitely adding cherry shrimp once the tank is a little more established, and also intend to have fish. Right now I'm thinking 2-3 Scarlet Badis or 6 CPDs or 6-9 Chili Rasbora or maybe a pair of Peacock Gudgeon. The Gudgeon are really cool, and a LFS has them on hand, but I think they're on the border of too big for this tank. Does anyone have any first hand experience they can share on these options?

I attached a photo I took just after filling with water. The aquascape didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, but it'll work for now.


Last edited by schmidty; 12-16-2014 at 03:04 AM. Reason: Fixing link to picture
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2014, 11:36 PM
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Looks awesome. Im wanting to change my mini cube into one of those or find a 20tall and cut it down to 7-8" tall.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2014, 11:48 PM
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Good choices. I have the Mr. Aqua 7.5 bow front, which is a little taller (10.4"), as well as the Satellite+ (18-24" version).

Even with the extra inch, IMO the light at full spectrum/100% is borderline high light/high tech. I have my whites and blues at ~50%, and the reds at ~70%. Unless I dose Excel, keep floaters, or shorten my photoperiod, I get algae.

I like the aquascape!

HTH
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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I have the 24"-36" Satellite+ and it definitely puts out the light. I'm dosing with Excel every other day and have some red rooted floaters coming so I hopefully don't have to turn down the light too much. I do get some good pearling after dosing excel with the light on full.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 03:36 AM
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RRF are great plants. They can definitely take full power - you might even get red roots.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-17-2014, 05:53 PM
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I got a great price on a used 12 gal fluvial edge... and it is a colossal PITA for any maintenance. While it looks beautiful... if I had the $$ to buy a tank in that price range off the shelf, I would pick something easier to work with.
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